2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

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Karen Troisi
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Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

#601 Post by Karen Troisi » December 5th, 2018, 6:38 pm

Merrill Lindquist wrote:
December 5th, 2018, 6:04 pm
Karen Troisi wrote:
December 5th, 2018, 4:33 pm
Today we blended our auction lot for Premiere Napa Valley and tasted through our 2017 cabs. Loving what we have in barrel - every vintage has its own unique personality but our 17’s are similar to 14’s at this point. Anyone else tasting through now?
Yes, Karen, I tasted a composite of all my 2017 barrels with 6 customers who know my wine well. Thaey asked if they could buy...it is very good. I told them it would be another 6 months before I have an offer out there.
Interesting... we like a solid 21-22 months in 75-100% new French Oak before bottling. We also hold back to bottle age before releasing (always something we have done). We won’t bottle 2017 cabs until next August and our 16’s won’t be released until next year.
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Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

#602 Post by Merrill Lindquist » December 5th, 2018, 7:31 pm

Karen - my offers go out essentially as futures, in the March - May timeframe. Bottling is in June, with shipping in the October/November timeframe. So my 2017 Cabs will be bottled in June of 2019.
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Casey Hartlip
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Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

#603 Post by Casey Hartlip » December 10th, 2018, 7:52 pm

Adapt or perish.
Here we are in the new era of farming. After harvest, pruning is the most time consuming and expensive task. Historically we've used the women's crew for every task except pruning. The ladies all carry pruning shears but usually need them for cutting live shoots while disbudding and training. Standing there all day and cutting dormant wood is another story. Hell, MY right hand gets sore at the start of pruning season. So how can we get the ladies involved? Prepruning. Here's where it gets geeky. Many larger vineyards do mechanical prepruning. Using a machine to cut the brush back to about 12-16 inches. This makes the final pass easier as there's less stuff to remove. This works for cordon pruning.
Cane pruning is different. You really can't mechanically preprune effectively because you can't cut all the shoots back to 16" as replacement canes need to be longer than 30". However the ladies can remove last year's cane and get it out of the trellis, leaving just the main head with various choices of canes to leave. Do you follow me? I'd say that 60% of cane pruning is taking the time to remove last year's growth. After that comes the creative process of selecting the proper canes and removing the excess shoots.
So I've turned this into an essay. Regardless I'm going to try something I've never tried in 40 years of farming. Hope it works.
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Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

#604 Post by N Weis » December 11th, 2018, 8:18 am

I follow you, Casey, and bet it will work well.

Choosing next year's cane is the most mentally-taxing, but removing last year's cane(s) and all the brush is the most time-consuming. Leaving a number of good choices for canes and spur positions if needed/desired should let the surgeons do their work more easily when they come through for the final pass. And maybe even wrap and tie, which we typically leave for another pass.

In examining pre-pruning on spur-pruned vineyards, I've found it doesn't reduce the total amount of time needed for pruning. It's about the same or even more. But, it lets the fine pruners focus on making the critical cuts, so quality is better, and it has other benefits including trunk disease, frost protection, and even the benefit of keeping the crew busy and employed when they need to be.

We, too, are experimenting with doing some similar "pre-pruning" on cane-pruned vineyards. And we have taken more and more that way.
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Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

#605 Post by Merrill Lindquist » December 11th, 2018, 10:30 am

Do either of you find that cane pruning leaves the fruit more exposed (less canopy) and more susceptible to sun burn?
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Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

#606 Post by Stewart Johnson » December 12th, 2018, 8:30 pm

Casey Hartlip wrote:
December 10th, 2018, 7:52 pm
Adapt or perish.
Here we are in the new era of farming. After harvest, pruning is the most time consuming and expensive task. Historically we've used the women's crew for every task except pruning. The ladies all carry pruning shears but usually need them for cutting live shoots while disbudding and training. Standing there all day and cutting dormant wood is another story. Hell, MY right hand gets sore at the start of pruning season. So how can we get the ladies involved? Prepruning. Here's where it gets geeky. Many larger vineyards do mechanical prepruning. Using a machine to cut the brush back to about 12-16 inches. This makes the final pass easier as there's less stuff to remove. This works for cordon pruning.
Cane pruning is different. You really can't mechanically preprune effectively because you can't cut all the shoots back to 16" as replacement canes need to be longer than 30". However the ladies can remove last year's cane and get it out of the trellis, leaving just the main head with various choices of canes to leave. Do you follow me? I'd say that 60% of cane pruning is taking the time to remove last year's growth. After that comes the creative process of selecting the proper canes and removing the excess shoots.
So I've turned this into an essay. Regardless I'm going to try something I've never tried in 40 years of farming. Hope it works.
I would think that electric shears might level the playing field between the sexes. It's no small investment, at about $2000/rig, but I do think it starts making more sense to optimize labor efficiency as cost and scarcity gets more acute. I've got one older Infaco set that doesn't include the safety glove feature, and I'm reluctant to let anyone else use it. I'm currently dithering about shelling out for the newer, safer model.
ITB
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Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

#607 Post by Stewart Johnson » December 12th, 2018, 9:09 pm

Merrill Lindquist wrote:
December 11th, 2018, 10:30 am
Do either of you find that cane pruning leaves the fruit more exposed (less canopy) and more susceptible to sun burn?
I switched most of my vineyard to cane pruning last year, and I didn't see that the fruit was more exposed than on a cordon VSP. It wasn't to toughest year to avoid sunburn, so maybe the jury is still out.
I made the switch mostly for the sake of improved yield, and I certainly got that. But everyone was heavy in 2018, so the jury is probably still out there also.
I had also hoped that it might save some labor in suckering/shoot thinning. That's where I typically fall behind due to labor limitations. I have spoken with vineyard guys who feel their cane pruned sections only need a little thinning around the head -- less, in any case, than with cordon. That wasn't really my experience this year. Maybe a little longer canes this coming year.
In most cases, the canes available from the old cordon configuration were too high to get directly down onto the cordon wire, and I adopted the bow-the-cane-over-the-lowest-catch-wire-and-then-down-to-the-cordon-wire approach. I think that worked, as advertised, in evening out the fruit distribution in the middle of the cane, and I'll continue that practice even as I get the head moved down below the cordon wire. My real mistake here was that I took two canes out bilaterally and at a length that had the ends of canes from adjacent vines touching down on the cordon too near each other. In some cases, a single tie attached both canes at a single point, resulting in fruit crowding. This year, I'll go with longer canes that will overlap such that the end of each cane ties to the cordon underneath the point where the adjacent plant's cane is bowing over the catch wire above.
ITB
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Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

#608 Post by Merrill Lindquist » December 13th, 2018, 8:49 am

Thanks for the excellent tutorial, Stewart. One row over from me, literally, my neighbor (3rd generation farmer) has some sort of cane pruning going on with his Cabernet. That particular row gets sunburned like crazy - totally exposed with no canopy to mention. Mine is the opposite: quadrilateral cordons, with 4-6 spurs on each cordon.
The canopy is often thick, and I leave most of it in place for sun protection. So far, in 18 years, it was worked well.

Up here in Calistoga we had a lot of very hot/direct sun days this season. Calistoga, particularly on the Valley floor, gets very, very hot. Typically 5-7 degrees hotter than St. Helena, and 10-12 degrees hotter than Napa.
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Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

#609 Post by Casey Hartlip » December 13th, 2018, 5:07 pm

IMG_20181213_133913774.jpg
IMG_20181213_133831545_HDR.jpg
10 inches at the highest mark.

Pruned in the Gruner Veltliner field today solo. Got a few rows done during the warm part of the day. Man it was nice out there. Gonna have fruit in that field for '19!
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Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

#610 Post by Casey Hartlip » December 17th, 2018, 7:17 am

Just a shade under 2" of rain over the weekend. We'll take it!
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Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

#611 Post by Casey Hartlip » December 17th, 2018, 5:44 pm

IMG_20181217_125455306.jpg
The fun part of farming. Laying out and marking a replanted field. Look closely and you'll see the pegs in the ground. Likely to be replanted to Chardonnay, but still deciding.
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Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

#612 Post by Merrill Lindquist » December 21st, 2018, 11:34 am

Back from Boston late yesterday. Wow - the cover crop is amazing! And I did not plant one! 6-12 inches high and dense. I don't see any bell beans emerging - that must be totally annual. I'll bet with this weather, with a good alternating pattern of warm sun and plenty of rain, I could probably toss some bell bean seed out there and it might take.
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Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

#613 Post by Casey Hartlip » December 21st, 2018, 3:59 pm

Spent the week fixing domestic water issues and propane leaks in our worker houses. Ah the many hats a farmer must wear. Boosted my crew with some new young guys and what a delight that is.
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Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

#614 Post by Ken Zinns » December 21st, 2018, 4:57 pm

Casey Hartlip wrote:
December 21st, 2018, 3:59 pm
Boosted my crew with some new young guys
That's what we need to do at the winery. Too many old farts like me doing the heavy lifting.

Enjoy the holidays, Casey!
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Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

#615 Post by Gary Schulte » December 24th, 2018, 5:17 am

Stewart Johnson wrote:
December 12th, 2018, 8:30 pm
I would think that electric shears might level the playing field between the sexes. It's no small investment, at about $2000/rig, but I do think it starts making more sense to optimize labor efficiency as cost and scarcity gets more acute. I've got one older Infaco set that doesn't include the safety glove feature, and I'm reluctant to let anyone else use it. I'm currently dithering about shelling out for the newer, safer model.
Last Spring I tried both the new Pellenc Vinion and the new Infaco F3015 which has ~ $800 price tag difference. I went with the Infaco over the Pellenc based on an edge on build quality and the fact that the safety glove was offered. It was great to have last year for the first time and am looking forward to using it this Winter/Spring. The glove is a must have in my book only I need to find a inner liner thin enough to keep my hands warm this go round. On the flip side of this I find the Infaco tying tool, which can use the same battery, not up to the design of the Pellenc Fixion's choice of different tie materials. As much as I hate to have several different battery types laying around I will probably add the Pellenc tying tool early next year.

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Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

#616 Post by Merrill Lindquist » December 24th, 2018, 3:23 pm

After around $15,000 spent, the gallons per minutes from my well have gone from less than 1 gallon per minute to 7. Pulled the pump (broken), set a new one lower in what is already a deep well, cleared out the casings, totally emptied the storage tank and power washed that baby out, and voila: clear, clean water in abundance. So essential to life here on my small ranch, but there is no other source of water for home, vineyard, or landscaping. Goes with the territory.
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Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

#617 Post by Stewart Johnson » December 24th, 2018, 11:05 pm

Gary Schulte wrote:
December 24th, 2018, 5:17 am
Stewart Johnson wrote:
December 12th, 2018, 8:30 pm
I would think that electric shears might level the playing field between the sexes. It's no small investment, at about $2000/rig, but I do think it starts making more sense to optimize labor efficiency as cost and scarcity gets more acute. I've got one older Infaco set that doesn't include the safety glove feature, and I'm reluctant to let anyone else use it. I'm currently dithering about shelling out for the newer, safer model.
Last Spring I tried both the new Pellenc Vinion and the new Infaco F3015 which has ~ $800 price tag difference. I went with the Infaco over the Pellenc based on an edge on build quality and the fact that the safety glove was offered. It was great to have last year for the first time and am looking forward to using it this Winter/Spring. The glove is a must have in my book only I need to find a inner liner thin enough to keep my hands warm this go round. On the flip side of this I find the Infaco tying tool, which can use the same battery, not up to the design of the Pellenc Fixion's choice of different tie materials. As much as I hate to have several different battery types laying around I will probably add the Pellenc tying tool early next year.
That's good data, Gary. Thanks.
Wouldn't the glove be effective even it were inside some layered gloves?
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Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

#618 Post by Gary Schulte » December 25th, 2018, 12:30 pm

Stewart - Worth trying but my sense is the glove needs to be super close or touching the hand tool blade. Will trying when I pull it out Feb/Mar to start pruning again.

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Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

#619 Post by Casey Hartlip » December 25th, 2018, 6:56 pm

Add another inch to the season rainfall.
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Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

#620 Post by Casey Hartlip » December 28th, 2018, 7:19 pm

Pruning away with men and women. My equipment operators will start chopping brush and weed spraying while the weather dries out. I've been doing some exploration pruning in young vines deciding what the plan will be and who will prune the younger areas. Getting ready for 12 days on the beach where I hope I can turn the farming switch off for a while. Happy New year to all the followers of this thread.
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Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

#621 Post by T Klonoski » December 29th, 2018, 8:21 am

Thanks for your many 2018 posts, especially when it was busy and you were tired.
Same to Merrill.
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Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

#622 Post by Merrill Lindquist » December 29th, 2018, 5:32 pm

T Klonoski wrote:
December 29th, 2018, 8:21 am
Thanks for your many 2018 posts, especially when it was busy and you were tired.
Same to Merrill.
Thank you. Sometimes it seems no one is ineterested, which I measure by responses. But truly, how much response could there be? It is only when I see friends from this Board that I realize how many people read this thread.
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Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

#623 Post by Sean Devaney » December 29th, 2018, 10:25 pm

Thanks to all the participants in this thread. It is a must read for me [cheers.gif]

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Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

#624 Post by Edward H. Earles » December 30th, 2018, 6:11 am

I read it every day. I'm not on the West coast, or "in the biz", so I rarely have anything to post.

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Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

#625 Post by Merrill Lindquist » December 30th, 2018, 8:53 am

I understand, Edward. And thank you for encouraging those of us who write frequently.

Right now, our weather follows a pattern of around 32 degrees at 7 in the morning, with frost covering the yard and vineyard and the rooftops. Then with sunny afternoons, it climbs up to perhaps 60. The rains we have had have pushed the cover crops at the right time.
My non-irrigated "yard" which leads from the house to the vineyard is a sea of green. It looks better than the two small yard spaces that I try to irrigate and keep green, as long as it does not take away from the vineyard water supply.
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Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

#626 Post by Siun o'Connell » December 30th, 2018, 8:58 am

It's my daily peek behind the curtain to read this thread ... thank you for sharing the view!

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Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

#627 Post by mattcitrang » December 30th, 2018, 9:08 am

I subscribe to this thread and read anytime a post is made. Many other people also read this, it has 27,750 views with only 625 posts. It probably one of the least drifted threads on this board.

Thanks to all who post.

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Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

#628 Post by Merrill Lindquist » December 30th, 2018, 11:54 am

mattcitrang wrote:
December 30th, 2018, 9:08 am
I subscribe to this thread and read anytime a post is made. Many other people also read this, it has 27,750 views with only 625 posts. It probably one of the least drifted threads on this board.

Thanks to all who post.
Thanks, Matty. I'll drift: save some money for Berserkerday - less than a month away!
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Re: 2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

#629 Post by Mark C » February 5th, 2019, 10:18 am

Edward H. Earles wrote:
December 30th, 2018, 6:11 am
I read it every day. I'm not on the West coast, or "in the biz", so I rarely have anything to post.
Same here; a great way to understand the agricultural basis of our shared passion!
[cheers.gif]

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